A new study shows that e-cigarettes may influence adolescents in taking up smoking later in life as they lack a proper regulation. Researchers say that many health-concerned teens choose to smoke e-cigs because they erroneously believe them to be healthier than traditional cigarettes, while other teens use e-cigarettes as a way of rebelling against conventional values.
The new study revealed that nearly 30 percent of teenagers have used e-cigarettes, while more than 60 percent reported they have been using them in the past 30 days. What is even more concerning is that health researchers found that nearly 70 percent of teens believe e-cigs are a healthier alternative to normal cigarettes.
Dr Thomas A. Wills, lead author of the study and professor at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, said that teens are misinformed about the dangers of nicotine – a liquid they inhale when using e-cigarettes. One previous health report showed that nicotine could be more addictive than heroin, Dr Wills said.
Several organizations are currently lobbying the FDA for issuing a regulation on e-cig industry. For instance, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently suggested a ban of <18 year-olds from buying e-cigarettes.
In the US, e-cigarette use has doubled in the last five years. The National Youth Tobacco Survey shows that in 2011 young e-cig users were nearly 5 percent, while a year later this number doubled.
Researchers believe that there are two trends among teen e-cigarette smokers. Some of them use it because they believe it is healthier than regular cigarettes, while others smoke e-cigs as a way of being rebellious. However, study data was unable to confirm either of the theories.
The Hawaiian study involved 1,942 high-school students living in Oahu, a Hawaiian island. Among them, 47 percent were female, while 53 percent were male. The adolescents participated in a 40-minute long survey with a response rate of nearly 80 percent.
The study revealed that 30 percent of the study participants used e-cigarettes, while 15 percent were actual cigarette smokers and 18 percent were marijuana users. E-cigarettes use ranked second after alcohol use with a nearly 50 percent rate.
“Our findings suggest that e-cigarettes may be operating to recruit lower-risk adolescents to smoking,”
Dr Wills also said.
Researchers linked the study’s grim results with its location – Hawaii. In this state, e-cigarettes are not properly regulated and the advertising industry for them can get so aggressive that it can convince parents e-cigs are healthier than regular cigarettes for their children.
Image Source: Ecigarette Reviewed